Excerpt from THE HEARTBREAKERS
“Do you ever miss it?” I asked, trying to distract myself again. My breathing hitched, and I hoped he hadn’t noticed.
“I don’t know, like, before everything?”
“You mean my anonymity? Sure.” Something in Oliver’s voice sounded off, and I craned my neck to look up at him. He was staring past me, deep in thought, and then a scowl crossed his face. “But I would never go back. Ever,” he added fiercely.
The skin covering his knuckles turned white as he tightened his fist, and I bit my lip, not sure what to say. I didn’t think he was mad at me, but something had upset him.
“Sorry,” I told him. “I didn’t mean to pry.”
“No worries,” he said, sounding much softer than before.
But Oliver seemed to be done talking, because he turned his attention back to the movie, and without our conversation, my nerves crept back up. I realized I was holding my breath when he started moving his thumb in small circles on my arm. For some reason I found the sensation calming, and bit by bit, my breathing returned to normal and I nestled down into his side. Just as I finally relaxed and turned my attention to the movie, Oliver chuckled and I felt him shake beneath me. Tilting my head back a few inches, I looked up at him through my lashes. There was a dusting of pink on his cheeks, and his eyes shinned as he laughed.
He must have felt my gaze, because his eyes snapped down and found mine. His lips slowly parted as he stared down at me, and my whole body flooded with warmth. Someone was shouting something crazy onscreen, but I was too preoccupied with Oliver to turn toward the TV. The way he was looking at me made me want to press my body further up against him, and the thought made me blush. Embarrassed by my own thoughts, I suddenly had the need to look away, to focus on anything but him, but as I turned, Oliver gently grabbed my chin. He held my head in place until I made eye contact, and then, once he knew I was watching, he dipped his head and brushed his lips against mine.
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Ali Novak writes contemporary young adult romance and is a recent graduate of the University of Madison Wisconsin’s creative writing program. She wrote her first full length novel, My Life with the Walter Boys, at the age of fifteen. Since posting the story online, it has received more than 33 million reads and is now published by Sourcebooks Fire.
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